Committee members Florence and JJ Mackin toured COLORADO under construction at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, CT on June 27th. Here is Florence’s description.
“Today, John and I were privileged to receive a tour of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Colorado (SSN 788) from the Commanding Officer, CDR Ken Franklin, the Executive Officer, LCDR Stephen Col, the Supply Officer, LTJG Emilio Nodal, and the new Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Freddie Richter. Prior to visiting the shipyard we had lunch at a small restaurant on the Thames River in Groton and saw a submarine underway, headed out to sea. What you see on the surface looks small, but is only a small portion of what lies beneath. This becomes quite apparent when we entered that construction building at Electric Boat and saw the complete hull of the ship. After donning hard hats, safety glasses and earplugs, we took an elevator three stories up to enter the ship through the access hatch topside and then made our way through the passageways and up and down ladders. The ship is still far from complete. We had a very through tour from the CO who gave us a briefing of some of the various systems and technological advancements that have been made over the years. This ship is a complex technological wonder.
With all of this technology, we cannot forget that it will be home to the crew for many months on end. Somehow they have squeezed in some room for berthing spaces and staterooms.
Security was very tight. No cameras were allowed in the yard, and we were not even allowed to bring our cell phones with us. We took a picture outside in the parking lot, but had to take our visitor badges off with the thought that someone could make a copy from a picture. There have been two recent suspicious events at the Submarine Base by persons discovered to be on the terrorist watch list.
While most of the equipment in the interior of the boat is in place, there is a maze of temporary systems for ventilation and electricity in place throughout – taking up more volume in already cramped spaces. That combined with the amount of equipment, piping and wiring make you wonder how it all comes together and is a tribute to all involved in the submarine shipbuilding industry.
I was impressed by the complexity of the various systems, but more impressed by the knowledge, experience and expertise of the Captain and crew members who will take this ship to sea when she is complete. This was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Below is a picture of the group after the tour.